Mahmood denies rift between Babar and Afridi

1 day ago 5

NEW DELHI: Pakistan assistant coach

Azhar Mahmood

has refuted claims of a disagreement between captain

Babar Azam

and star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi. Mahmood stated that the recent comments made by former captain

Wasim Akram

, suggesting that Babar and Shaheen are not on speaking terms, are false.
Furthermore, Mahmood criticized those who believe that cricketers should not have a life beyond the sport and should remain isolated in their hotel rooms, dwelling on their close loss to India.
Rumors often circulate that the Pakistan team is divided into two groups, with one faction led by Babar and the other under Shaheen's influence.
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"Wasim must have said that, but I don't know. I didn't see it. Shaheen and Babar are definitely talking, they are good friends. They are both part of the Pakistan team. We have not lost because of anyone, it is our mistake too," Mahmood said referring to the team's six-run loss to India in which it failed to chase down a 120-run target.
The team management has taken responsibility for the players' absence from press conferences following losses. Mahmood stated that the support staff is equally accountable when it comes to addressing the media and providing explanations for the team's defeats.

"We are not hiding any players, everyone is there. Everything is there. I said earlier that we are a team. Obviously, we're sitting here, and it's our responsibility. We're not delivering. That's why I'm sitting here.
"Yesterday, Gary (Kirsten) was sitting here. So definitely, it's not like we're hiding a player. They're part of us."
After Pakistan's defeat against India, a video surfaced showing chief selector

Wahab Riaz

, captain Babar Azam, and Mahmood dining together at a New York restaurant. The footage sparked outrage among supporters who were displeased with the team's performance.
"You were there. I'm telling you; you were there. I saw you there too," Mahmood hit back at the Pakistani reporter, who asked this question.
"The thing is, we are a very emotional nation. I mean, it's not possible that if you lose a match, your life will be over. Yes, how will you do it? If you lose a match and then you come to the room and bang the walls of the room, then you need a little time to relax your mind.
"Now, obviously, our players are not like that. I've been with English teams, too. If they go to a place like that, you can only go to eat, that's our entertainment."
(With PTI inputs)